Water attracts my attention this morning as I turn to read the Great Book. It literally pulls me to itself with an enormous magnet. What grips me is not just plain H-2-O, we use several times from morning till evening without thinking, but the mysterious phenomenon that reflects divine attributes. It is the substance that infuses life into all living beings and moves essential substances up, down, right and left in the bodies of plants and animals.

On casual touch it is soft. It’s so very soft that my hand goes right through it in a pot full of water. With little effort I can scoop it out, splash it, sprinkle it, drink it or spill it. It is very smooth and adaptable. If you put it in a pot it instantly takes the shape of the pot and fills it to the maximum. I do not get hurt if someone hits me hard with it. It splits, divides, flows, and easily goes between rocks or any other obstacles.

Water racing down hill in torrent can instantly level anthills, beaver dams and the mightiest structures built by man. Even natural hills do not stand much chance against a mighty flood. Whole cities can be washed away in a short time without leaving any debris as trace. Floodwater can bring or take away millions of tons of soil in a short time. Glacier fed rivers start from the top of the Himalayas and works their way to the oceans through hills, huge rocks, swamps, sand, forests and human infested areas.

When heated, water turns to steam. At very high temperatures steam can move million ton ships, turn huge turbines, and put giant machines to work. Steam can also soothe with warmth, cook, burn or cause destruction.

Water has completely different qualities when it is frozen at low temperatures. Ice can be hard as granite and cause serious damage on collision. Billions of cubic meters of water can be frozen and put in reserve in the tundra and the same can then melt and remerge into the ocean.

There are many other subtle, small or mighty things water can do. Their number is so large that it would take a library of books to list them. Humans find some of these acts destructive and others beneficial. But they are not known for a wide view.

Since this morning I have been reading about water in the Great Book. It has so inundated me with joy and wonder that I feel satiated.

Partap Aggarwal

June 4, 2011

The Surya (Sun)

The Surya (Sun)

Okay, Great Book, here I come and stand before you with folded hands. Tell me how to begin. I know you are not a ‘book’ and are not organized into numbered chapters. One does not begin reading you from chapter one. For you are an undivided whole. One can start anywhere and connect with all of you. Also there are no words, no one language. I am confused. Please, kindly guide me.

I wait a long moment and then feel a presence. Something comes and seems slowly to speak to me in English. “Buddhu Ram ji, it is I, that you call the Great Book. I can guide you if you give me your full attention. I know you wish to start with the Sun. I understand. It is the first thing you see every day. Just start and put down what you see written on me. Have no fear. I am with you every day, every week.

So I feel reassured and move. Oh sun I saw you early morning as you rose in the east. You were wrapped in red cool glow as a newborn baby. You rose slowly and the whole scene before me lit up. As you went up your red wrappings began to peel off and you became thin, smaller and warm. And then your light became brighter and hotter. I try to read the Book.

This Sun came first. Earth spun off it as a blob of red-hot molten lava. As it had come off the sun it began to orbit around its source. Then it cooled and became hard surfaced. Water appeared and filled most of it. But few dry spots remained. Then life began in water and marine animals and plants evolved. They took many shapes and filled the oceans. Slowly some sea animals were attracted to dry land and became amphibians. With time some of them adapted to living on the land.

The Sun continues to give light and warmth to all animals to those that live on dry earth and others in the oceans. All of them need light and warmth. If it stopped coming all beings would die. Imagine the sun’s responsibility and for how many billions of years this great saint has carried it!

Sun is the living model of what the Hindus call Dharma (appropriate action). It cannot be defined or canonized as dogma, for it is never the same for every individual.

All beings of the world began to wake up and start doing their assigned work. In my tradition we say we perform our dharma, that is, to do what we are able to do for the community of life according to the abilities given to us. We don’t think only of ourselves, for we are not alone. We exist only as long as life around us exists.

This is what the sun does. He distributes light and warmth among all living things. These are the two things he has and he given them without restraint to everyone. He does not care whether it is a king or a cockroach. He gives equally to both. Recipients have different attitudes. Some meet the sun every morning and meet it with an offering of water. They bow several times to show gratefulness. Others curse the sun for giving too much heat or blinding light. But the sun gives to both for it is his dharma.

The sun rises every morning right on time no matter what. He never says let me not rise today for I am tired or sick today. People on earth may not sometime see it because of the clouds, but the sun is there above the clouds without fail. This being sun’s dharma, he does it with all his might and skill.

Our sages of the old used to call the sun the great guru of dharma. They also said that when God created Dharma it was taught first to the sun. Since then he rises every morning with his message written on his whole face. It is easy to see and read by all. An ant can read it as also a dung beetle, an elephant, and a human being. Knowingly or inadvertently, one can fail to live by one’s dharma but as long as the sun rises in the morning and goes known in the evening, they cannot say no one made me aware.


28 May 2011

The Great Book

The Great Book

All living beings in this world inherit an invaluable gift from nature. It is a book filled with timeless wisdom distilled from lives lived by countless species over millions of years. Mutations of the body and behavior patters adopted to cope with the environment were lived and tested. The ones found harmful were automatically dropped and forgotten. The remaining ones of proven survival value were preserved. These nuggets of wisdom were written down in the Great Book for the guidance of coming generations.

This Great Book was written for the benefit of ALL living beings, including the minutest of organisms everywhere, worms and insects in the soil, mammoths like elephants and hippos in the forest, all plants, and, of course, for us humans. Therefore the language used in this book is such that it can be read and understood by all. Obviously, it cannot be read like the books written by us humans on paper. Its message can be understood with the help of all the different senses that living organisms have.

The Great Book is not written on paper, bound, and kept on a shelf in a library. That kind of a book would fail to serve its purpose. So, it is written on water, soil, earth, sky, moon, sun and all the places contacted and experienced by life.

The Great book is extremely complex and extraordinary. It cannot be defined in words. The best way to know it is to try to read or experience the book bit by bit. Therefore I am going to try to read a page or a paragraph every week and write it down on Saturdays. I will then share the narrations with you friends via e-mail. It will be like the stories I used to write.

Bless and encourage me in this new venture.



May 21, 2011, my 80th birthday